Daniel Swain in The Guardian: American west stuck in cycle of ‘heat, drought and fire’, experts warn
As fires propagate throughout the US west on the heels of record heatwaves, experts are warning that the region is caught in a vicious feedback cycle of extreme heat, drought and fire, all amplified by the climate crisis. The intensity of the fires in California and Oregon is “not something you used to see” so early in the season, absent the strong late summer and fall winds that fuel the west’s biggest fires, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the University of California, Los Angeles. The unprecedented drought gripping the west, alongside “mind-blowing” heatwaves, are fueling extreme fires this year, Swain said, adding that the extreme conditions could set the stage for “considerably worse” fires in late summer and fall. Historically, September and October have been the worst months for megafires in California.